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MrFarmdog's Gingerbread House


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Every year my wife and I host a gingerbread decorating party. This year we hosted two parties, one for local friends and another for our mustang club. In all we had about 80 people in our home decorating premade gingerbread houses. It is lots of fun and the adults really get into it as much as the kids.

 

Playing the host has its disadvantages, one of which is you do not get to participate in the fun. Well the day after the party I decided to do one of my own. Here is the final result. If anyone else has done one please post up pics. I love to see how creative people are if they allow themselves to be!

 

I would like to encourage everyone to find a few minutes in your busy lives to relax and do something like this just for the enjoyment of it! It is quite fun!

 

Merry Christmas Team Shelby!

 

Original Slide Show View to Jingle Bell Rock!

 

Picture view if you really want to study the detail

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It did take quite a while. It took about 5 hours. It started out as one of those basic kits you buy for $10. I assembled on a Christmas tray and then started decorating.

 

I used Cocoa Puffs for the rock foundation and for the fireplace built on the back. Then I used Cinnamon Gram Sticks for the siding and Wafer Pretzels for the windows. These were glued in place with plenty of icing and smoothed to look like snow on the windows. I also cut some of the pretzles to use as shutters for the windows.

 

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I used two different kinds of Chex mix for the thatched pattern on the roof.

 

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The log pile on the side of the house was made with cut Gram Sticks. My wife was making chocolate covered cookies while I was doing this so I had her coat all of them in chocolate. I then glued them in place with the icing and put lots of icing on top for snow.

 

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For the outide decorations I used groups of gumdrops large and small to represent bushes covered in lights. The walk was made with vanilla wafers that were scalloped so they fit together like stepping stones. One of the key steps to the final decoration was using watered down icing in a squirt bottle to dispense the icing. Using this method I was able to make icicles on the roof and on other parts of the house like the shutters, etc. I also used the icing to coat the tray so that it looks like the ground is covered in snow. There is about 5 cups of frosting on this small house.

 

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When it was all done my wife had to add her touch by putting this gingerbread man in the chimney!

 

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So what was the final cost after you bought the starter kit?

Hard to say. We purchase a lot of cereal and such for the parties we have so I did not have to purchase anything else but if I had to go out and purchase all the different candy and stuff that did not come with the kit it would probably be around $40.

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  • 11 months later...

OK guys time to revive this thread again!!!

 

This year we decided to kick it up a notch and do one completely homemade of our own house. Here is a pic of our house from a few years ago for reference.

 

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I took all the measurements this weekend and mocked up one 1/4 inch = 1 foot in cardboard.

 

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The house is about 18 inches long and looks OK but it is a bit small for the kind of detail we want so I will probably go 1/2 inch = 1 foot. That means the house will be about 28 inches long. Once I finish all the templates Then it will be baking time!

 

The plan is to build it on plywood and perhaps even have it lighted from the inside. For those of you that don't know us we do the outside of our house up about as much as the inside so we will probably take some tips from the outside decorations and incorporate those on our GB house!

 

I will update everyone on the progress if you care to be part of the fun!

 

MrFarmdog out! :shades:

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OK guys time to revive this thread again!!!

 

This year we decided to kick it up a notch and do one completely homemade of our own house. Here is a pic of our house from a few years ago for reference.

 

mrfarmdog_pic1_Image003.jpg

 

I took all the measurements this weekend and mocked up one 1/4 inch = 1 foot in cardboard.

 

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100_6516.jpg

 

The house is about 18 inches long and looks OK but it is a bit small for the kind of detail we want so I will probably go 1/2 inch = 1 foot. That means the house will be about 28 inches long. Once I finish all the templates Then it will be baking time!

 

The plan is to build it on plywood and perhaps even have it lighted from the inside. For those of you that don't know us we do the outside of our house up about as much as the inside so we will probably take some tips from the outside decorations and incorporate those on our GB house!

 

I will update everyone on the progress if you care to be part of the fun!

 

MrFarmdog out! :shades:

 

Make sure to make the "Gingerbread Shelby" in the driveway!!! :shift:

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  • 2 weeks later...

This weekend has been a gingerbread weekend! We started on Friday night with a small gingerbread party for some of our friends and then I got serious about getting our house done.

 

This year I decided to do windows out of melted candy. I made some pieces and experimented with different kinds of candy to see what worked the best. I tried everything from different types of Halloween suckers, Pixie Sticks and candy canes. While most of the candy will melt the ones that worked best were the clear suckers. I also found that some candies would crack when they hardened (like butterscotch) which would not work well. Jolly Ranchers ended up being my preferred medium due to the colors and melting temperature.

 

Since gingerbread will rise and expand it can cause the shape of your windows to change such as get smaller or even make your lines uneven like the edge of a cookie. When prepping windows I found that it is best to bake the gingerbread for about 10 minutes and then trim your window openings again to true them up to the correct dimensions. Then bake the piece the rest of the way. Once your piece is done and cooled it is time to work on the windows.

 

I broke up the Jolly Ranchers and filled all the window locations as full as I could get them. I even let the pieces mound up a bit above the gingerbread because when the candy melts it will fill all the gaps and then flow under the gingerbread some. This will ensure your window is thick enough and will not crack. Also make sure when you do this step you are baking on a Silplat sheet or else the candy will be stuck to your baking sheet and it will be ruined. This way you can easily lift the piece when done.

 

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The end effect is that of stained glass which will look good when lit from inside (you will see that later!)

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Next it was on to the assembly! I got a 2 foot X 4 foot board that was about 5/8s inch thick for the assembly and covered it with aluminum foil, marked out the floor plan and started putting it together.

 

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My templates worked pretty well but due to the thickness of the gingerbread some of the pieces needed trimming to get them to fit. I used a Dremel took with a barrel sander on it and it worked great! Just make sure you are working over a sink and you have the Dremel positioned where it is throwing the crumbs into the sink or you will have gingerbread dust all over your house!

 

The actual assembly goes pretty quickly although I did it in stages to allow sections of the house to set up. The Royal icing is very good to work with as it sets up quick but you have to learn how to work with it or you will get it all over the place and will make a big mess. I personally like the icing because you can shape it wet or after it sets up. Here are a few shots of the house going up.

 

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Here are my kids working on their houses as well!

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I decided to use a set of LED Christmas lights inside the house. I should have run them through the board but honestly I didn't think about it until I had the house half assembled so I just decided to lay them in and run the wiring out the back. I used the Dremel to cut some channels in the walls where the lights would be draped.

 

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Then I assembled the rest of the roof. Unfortunately I had a couple of pieces break and had to re-bake them but it was not that big of a deal. The reason for them breaking had to do with how I worked with the gingerbread dough. It is best to work with the dough at room temp and if you are using scraps cut from a previous rolling make sure you mix the dough up well before rolling again. I did not and as a result I had some cracks develop. I have learned a lot about how to bake gingerbread as a result of this effort! Here are some pics of the house mostly assembled.

 

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And a few in the dark!

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Now it is time to decorate!

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I thought I would post another update...

 

Night before last we went out searching for candy but came to the conclusion that you will never find the perfect items you need so you just have to make do. We went through Target and Sams Club looking in their candy isles, baking goods and cereals. We bought a few things which will show up later.

 

Spent some more time on the house tonight. We have been struggling with the direction we wanted to take it. One side of us wanted to try to replicate our house as much as possible and the other wanted to make it whimsical with lots of fun candy. I think we will do a little of both.

 

Tonight though we decided on going with a light brown icing for the sides of the house. Here are some pics of our efforts tonight!

 

Icing the house with lots of windows turned out to be a pain until I figured out how to do it. I ended up using playdough wrapped in celophane to plug the window openings.

 

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Then I iced over the entire front of the house. If anyone has ever done drywall smoothing icing is kind of like that. It takes a bit of skill but it does not have to be perfect. When the icing is dry you can go through and shape it and smooth it just like drywall! Once I was done with the icing I removed the playdough. Now all I have to do is wait for the icing to dry and then I can trim and shape the icing around the windows for a nice square opening!

 

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For the roof we decided to make shingles out of Tootsie Rolls! I experimented with it and found that if I microwave the little candies for a few seconds they would soften up enough so you could kneed them into a ball like dough. Then you can roll it out and cut shapes out of it! It is very cool as you can make all kinds of things out of it like playdough!

 

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Here are a couple of pics of my girls. Here is Kaylee giving the house bunny ears.

 

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And here is Kirsten. Can you guess what she wants for Christmas? Her two front teeth of course!

 

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Next on the list is finishing up the outside icing and making shingling the roof, adding the doors and trimming the windows. That will probably be tomorrow's project.

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Yesterday and today we spent time decorating and putting the roof on. It is going slower than expected but we have had lots of other things to do (like open presents!)

 

Here are some pics for your viewing pleasure!

 

The completed roof!

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The corner pieces replicate the brickwork we have on our house.

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The garage doors are made of Tootsie Rolls as well! There are about 500 Tootsie Roll bites in this house so far!

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For anyone that is interested here is how the Tootsie Rolls work. First get a bunch in a bowl and microwave for about 30 seconds. You really have to be careful not to melt them in the bowl or you will have a mess. I go about 20 seconds and then 5 seconds each after that checking how soft they are.

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When they are soft enough to kneed into a ball that is good enough.

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Then I roll them out into a pancake.

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After that I split it in half so I can roll it thinner. I use the microwave several times during the rolling to soften it up. Makes rolling much faster!

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Then I score it in half inch widths

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And then cut off lengths to use as shingles! They go on quickly when you use strips.

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Next up I need to decide whether to work on the back of the house or start making landscaping for the front. The kids will have more fun with the landscaping for sure!

 

Merry Xmas everyone!

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Unfortunately this project will have to be put on hold for a bit. My wifes Grandmother passed away on Xmas and she will be gone this next week for the funeral. I also have to take some time to visit my parents as well so it may be a week before we see anymore updates. We will finish this though so no worries!

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